Employees take their behavioral cues from their supervisors. Supervisors take their cues from their managers. And so it goes. Culture starts at the top of the organization. Sometimes it helps, and sometimes it hurts. When the culture isn’t supporting your organization’s success, it’s time to take action. It’s time to change the culture.
What is culture?
It’s the beliefs, assumptions, values, and reinforcing systems that create a certain set of behaviors. When leaders say they want to change the culture, that usually means they want people to start behaving differently.
Here are some common cultural behaviors that leaders want to change:
- From reactive to proactive.
- From individual focus to team focus.
- From information hoarding to information sharing.
- From internal focus to external focus.
- From micromanaging and control to self-managing and empowerment.
- From distrust to trust.
- From fear to comfort.
- From slow to nimble.
- From departmental orientation to process orientation.
- From short-term to long-term focus.
- From haphazard to systematic.
- From closed to open.
You get the idea. Think about your own organization. What are the first couple “From-To” statements that are on your wish list?
Prepare for a long-term project
Culture change doesn’t happen easily or quickly. It became what it currently is over time, and it won’t change without significant work.
When clients engage us to help them in this endeavor, we usually follow a process that includes these steps:
- Identify the reasons for making a change.
- Identify the characteristics of the culture you want.
- Identify the characteristics of the culture you have.
- Identify the drivers that reinforce the current culture.
- Identify the drivers that could support the desired culture shift.
- Develop a plan based on those drivers.
- Implement the plan.
- Monitor progress.
- Continually reinforce and adjust.
Let’s go to work
If the existing culture isn’t working for you, we should talk. We can discuss what it is and what you want it to be. Together we will rise to the challenge.